I can hardly wait to see what I am thinking.
I spoke with Robert Capon today, the author of the subversive book Between Noon and Three. He is the first author I have ever found who is willing to say publicly what I have only dared to half-imagine. Grace, as he sees it, really is a the free gift of God to the underserving, and the only possible way to avoid enjoying its benefits is to not believe it. Simple, I know, but profound in its implications...
I have wondered over the last few years why it is that I have always been attracted to the folks who exist on the fringes of cultural normality - the freaks, weirdos, oddballs and assorted socially not-quite-acceptable people. Normal people, while non-threating, tend to bore me. I don't know why I prefer the statistical outliers to the normal folks, but when I look at His creation, I find all sorts of analogues in the natural world. God apparently has a tremendous taste for the bizarre and the weird and the just plain not-normal. How else to explain the platypus, or the venus fly-trap, or tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, cancer, Amos 3:6, crocodiles, dragons, giants, dwarves, the Loch Ness monster?
I know I am wandering back & forth between the nominally real and the nominally imaginary, but where exactly is the border between the two? Chesterton argues that myth is more real than reality, that the realm of the fantastic is where life really lives, and that the world we moderns and PoMos call "the real world" is really just a two-dimensional cardboard replica of the real thing. (Sorry, I don't remember if I got this idea from Orthodoxy or from The Everlasting Man.)
In light of my previous post, and in light of being cut off from the five most meaningful relationships in my life, (and thus losing my gravitational center), I find myself questioning my whole concept of God. It seems He is both far more terrible and far more wonderful than I thought before.
Well, maybe I have thought it before. I remember as a pre-adolescent reading The Chronicles of Narnia and tasting of something so much more wonderful and more awful than myself and my small, constrained little world, something I identified as God expressed through Christ, but the 30 intervening years have pretty well smashed the awe and wonder of that childlike vision out of me. I am so much more sophisticated, more worldly, more cosmopolitan - and yet somehow my world has become so much smaller.
But along comes Genesis and Job and Chesterton and Lewis and Capon and my world is turned inside out, or upside down or something I cannot explain in a straight-line intellect-only dimension. Poetry or song or art might better capture it.
I stumbled onto some poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, (who is apparently no longer in vogue as a poet), and found a beauty and wistfulness there that I had all but forgotten. So I shall sit down with my poetry again, and seek to touch that long-lost chord that Lewis first struck in me when I was 11 or 12, that music which echoed in my soul for years but that the years have likewise silenced, that wonder and awe at the beauty and mystery woven into the very fabric of the universe.
I am alone tonight, as I have been for the last 16 nights, and probably will be for many more nights to come, yet in some undefinable way, I am NOT alone, maybe for the first time ever.
As Robert Capon reminded me on the phone today, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and if I am anywhere at all these days, it is in Him.